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Coronavirus: How Does it Affect My Studies?

The novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) continues to dominate the news around the world. It’s important to know where you can find information about this virus that is accurate and relevant to you. 

As the number of cases rises in Australia (as of 5 February there are 13 around Australia) and the start of the academic year draws closer, there are some changes to immigration, travel, quarantine and commencement dates that may affect you.

Let’s run through them.

Flight cancellations

A number of airlines across the world have cancelled or suspended flights to and from mainland China. You can find a list of what most major airlines are doing in response to coronavirus here

If your flight has been affected by these cancellations, check your airline’s website or contact the airline directly to see how to change your booking or arrange a refund.

Travel bans

As of 1 February 2020, Australia is denying entry to anyone who has left or transited mainland China, with the exception of:

  • Australian citizens
  • permanent residents
  • immediate family members of Australian citizens and permanent residents including spouses, minor dependents and legal guardians

These measures are temporary and will be reassessed mid-February. For more information, check the Department of Home Affairs website.

Student visas

You will need to get in touch with your education provider in regards to possibly deferring your studies, should you not be able to return to Australia. Your student visa may be impacted, so it’s best to contact your education provider to discuss your options.

More visa information is available here, with resources available in both English and Chinese (Simplified).

Semester delays

Some education providers around Australia, such as Monash University, are rescheduling semester start dates. Monash is commencing online-only classes from 9 March, with on-campus teaching beginning on 16 March, giving more time for international students to arrive in Australia and allow for self-isolation if necessary. Check with your education provider directly to see if there are delays in your commencement date.

Accommodation updates

Some student accommodation providers are asking for additional information from new and current residents who are coming from China. Contact your accommodation provider or check their website as soon as possible for more information.

Do you still have to enrol for this semester?

It is likely that your education provider will still need you to enrol this semester, even if you are currently barred from entering the country. Your education provider should get in touch with you directly with information on what to do if you have been affected by travel delays. But, always check their website or contact them directly for up-to-date information.

China and Hong Kong border closures

Hong Kong has implemented border closures with mainland China to reduce the number of people travelling between the two regions. The mainland borders at Lo Wu and Lok Ma Chau and the Hong Kong-Macau Ferry Terminal have closed (as of midnight 4 February). Hong Kong’s international airport, the Shenzhen Bay border and Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge will remain open. If you have transited through Hong Kong on your way to Australia, you will not have to self-isolate.

What to do if you/your family/your friends have symptoms

If you, your family or your friends are showing symptoms of the coronavirus, you must seek medical attention. Please ring ahead of time to book an appointment at your local medical centre. This will help make your doctor aware of your symptoms and your travel history.

Call Triple Zero (000) if you need urgent medical help. As an international student, your hospital visit will be covered by OSHC – click here for more information.

International student helpline

For any additional information or help, contact:

  • A dedicated email and hotline – international.students@dese.gov.au or 1300 981 621 (8am to 8pm AEDST Monday to Friday)
  • The Study in Australia website

Stay up-to-date

To ensure you are aware of any developments with the coronavirus, visit the following: